Nintendo Game & Watch Inspires Tiny, $59 Synths from Teenage Engineering [CDM Hands-on]

“Pocket” is a term often used loosely to mean anything small. Not so the Teenage Engineering PO-12 series of instruments. They’re each literally small enough that you could put them in your jeans comfortably and still cram in your phone. We’ve got units from TE (and collaborator Cheap Monday) here at CDM, so let’s talk about what our wacky Stockholm friends have done this time. Remember Nintendo’s Game & Watch series? These business card-sized pocket games used crude but charming LCD animations, characters making jerky, repetitive movements for basic games. The ultra-cheap toy titles preceded the NES, the ingenious work …

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Teenage Engineering’s Tiny, $50 Drum Machine, Revealed in Videos

It’s called the PO-12. It’s $50. It’s absolutely tiny – a little stand props it up, inspired by the Nintendo Game & Watch. And it’s already sounding like a drum machine. The drum machine first revealed to the world at a panel I moderated at Moogfest is finally, after manufacturing and customs delays, making its way to a select group of first owners – mainly VIPs and artists from that festival. What you’re seeing here is just a prototype; Teenage Engineering now says they’ll have a fully fleshed-out version some time in 2015. There are two things, apart from the …

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Watch A Charming Video with Hands On Gear, From France’s 20syl, And More

20syl – Kodama (official music video) from 20syl on Vimeo. In a love affair with musical instruments, French producer 20syl teams up with director Mathieu le Dude for a gorgeous music video. As the bass-heavy track shuffles along amiably, hands on musical instruments and other objects reveal the instrumentation – a young hipster’s guide to the electronic orchestra, if you will. 20syl is the producer name of turnablist and sometimes-rapper and graphic artist and music maker Sylvain Richard of Nantes, well-known in his France but getting greater international exposure with this video. He co-directs the film here, applying his graphical …

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Teenage Engineering to Make a $50 Drum Machine [Pictures, Teaser]

What if a drum machine were as small and appealing as those old Game & Watch portable Nintendo games? That’s the latest design challenge undertaken by the mad scientists at Teenage Engineering. And the creation has some serious lineage: Jesper Kouthoofd, CEO of Teenage Engineering and designer of the new board, contributed to the original Machinedrum. The board made its appearance for the first time in the general public at the panel I moderated at Moogfest, alongside Moog’s Cyril Lance. (Now, that’s more fun to bring to a presentation than a PowerPoint slide deck, right?) The size is about the …

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Reactable Mobile, on Sale This Weekend for iOS and Android; Watch the Full Table Meet OP-1

Reactable, now turning age five, still remains something that can take people’s breath away. Making the relationship of musical components into actual building blocks, it demystifies music making and makes it more magical all at the same time. And since the table itself is big, not-portable, and pricey, there’s also the iOS- and Android-compatible tablet edition. (The Android app is one of the few that gives my vintage Galaxy Tab something useful to do.) This weekend, you can grab Reactable Mobile yourself 50% off: 50% Off Fifth Anniversary But this is also a perfect opportunity to watch a tantalizing video …

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Post-Christmas Deals on Apps, Software, More – Even a Game with Procedural Music [Bargain Roundup]

As more sales – particularly software – move online, we’re finding that musicians can save a lot on their tools by waiting on sales. Black Friday / Thanksgiving / Cyber Monday saw steep discounts on some terrific stuff, and now there are loads of sales in the quiet period from Christmas to New Year’s. Half off Lemur (through 19 Jan). One particularly tempting deal – especially if you’ve got a winter project in mind – comes from our friends at Liine. Lemur, my favorite controller app on iOS, is now 50% off. And LiveControl 2 has just added essential support …

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Samplr is an OP-1-Inspired iPad App Focused on Touching, Slicing Waveforms

On computers and most hardware, waveforms have been a “look, but don’t touch” affair. Now, that view is coupled with multi-touch capabilities. Samplr is, as the name implies, an app that focuses on working with sound. With rhythmic slicing modes and multi-touch manipulation of samples, it’s a lovely-looking way to surf sounds from your fingertips. Some of the sonic modes, and certainly the visual appearance, take more than a passing inspiration from Teenage Engineering’s OP-1 hardware. That said, the actual modes are a bit different, though they draw on some of the “tape” concepts, and the actual workflow with touch …

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3D Printing, From Headphones to Synth Accessories, Shows Both Promise and Obstacles

Take it from one now immersed in manufacturing – making things is an epic process of production, delays, shipping, customs… 3D printing is the latest DIY technology to promise to get around that, armed by the seemingly-magical translation of digital files into objects in a way other machines cannot. We’ll be looking in depth at what 3D printing can mean for music starting next week, as interest in this technology reaches fever pitch, but here are a couple of revealing case studies. For Teenage Engineering, makers of the OP-1 synthesizer, 3D printing seems to be a real breakthrough. Their line …

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Visual Music: My God, It’s Full of Dots – Yayoi Kusama Meets Musical Design

Tenori-On and iPad apps, hardware designs and visual creations: set against the beautifully-generative mind of Japanese/New York artist Yayoi Kusama, the flurries of dots and circles and patterns in musical interfaces take on a richer meaning. This video, from a workshop hosted at the Tate Modern alongside an exhibition of Kusama’s work, needs little introduction. Instead, the dizzying cuts of geometric abstraction, the array of visual ideas for musical interface begin to take on the same personality of her expansive creations. The galaxies produced out of the minds of musicians somehow overlap with this iconic artist. I hadn’t really made …

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Pictures at an Exhibition: Essential New Gear and Reflections from NAMM

Dewanatron’s Brian and Leon were on-hand with their unique inventions. Photos by Marsha Vdovin for CDM. For the lover of musical instruments and technology, southern California’s NAMM show is a giant toy shop. It’s work for many of its attendees, of course, but we know many of our readers dream of the objects that will make their next creations. And sure, inspiring lust is not our aim; on the contrary, there is some love that goes into these things. In the ideal, that’s the relationship of creator and consumer. These are things not to be bought and discarded, but kept …

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